Leaving The People You Grew Up With To Be A Better You, A Breakdown Of J. Cole’s ‘Cousins’

Et cetera, Real Goes Right — By on May 2, 2013 at 9:40 am

J-Cole-sitting

In case you haven’t heard, J. Cole, aka “light-skinned Jermaine,” dropped off another EP last week titled “Truly Yours 2.” It’s the second version in this series, which finds Cole trying to re-establish himself with the listeners and ramp up new interest in his sophomore album, “Born Sinner.” Cole is infamous for his raps about Sallie Mae and student loans, but he’s also known for having a remarkable affinity to pen songs dealing with real life. One of the standout verses from “Truly Yours 2” is his last verse on the tape on a song named “Cousins.” On “Cousins,” Cole finds himself having a conversation with his cousin who embarked on a divergent path from his and now finds himself at the bottom while Cole is moving in the opposite direction.

Here is the song and accompanying lyrics.

cousin in jail again, asking me for bail again

close when i was 12 but, i was much frailer then

he was like 16, a n*gga from the gutter and

years ago his favorite uncle had married my mother and

here we are, rolling through the ‘ville like dumb and dumber and

for that summer man, i swear i wish you was brother then

but time passed and we fell off cuz you moved back home

little did you know jermaine would grow a new backbone

n*ggas thought he wasn’t gon make it til he proved that wrong

10 years later on the radio that “who dat” song

ya homeboy pumps “the warm up” now you bugging

cuz you looking at the cover and you say “yo that’s my cousin”

n*ggas looking at you like “you lying” but you wasn’t

next thing i know you blowing up my line all a sudden

and i’m showing love like “yo look what i did…

ain’t nobody coming from here ever did this shit this big” man

…but now you saying “man enough about you…shit what about me?

my n*gga what about me? oh you forgot about me?

same n*gga showed you how to rap, now you don’t know how to act

boy i’m at the bottom you could pull a n*gga outta that

put me in a video, hey, put me on ya hottest track

bring me on the road wit you, you know cuz got ya back

and i’m strapped up, if them n*ggas act up

see you headed to the top you need to let me catch up

please let me catch up…

…won’t you help me catch up man…”

i see you when i see you

harsh as it seems to say i wouldn’t wanna be you

bail you out for your daughter and i pray to god

a n*gga never pull ya card and she won’t ever get to see you…

time keeps slipping away…away…

another day another love song…another day another love song…

There’s two things this J. Cole song makes me want to touch on.

The first is the side effects of leaving home, and the second is being seen as the ladder to pull people up … and the problems that can come along with that.

Real Goes Right

Pop-culture, fiction, and social issues writer over on RealGoesRight.Com. And now I do video games over on OurcadeGames.com. My hobbies include long walks in the park, tweeting entire days away, and creating strategies on how to get my girlfriend out of Target in ten minutes or less.

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    2 Comments

  • J. Tinsley says:

    What’s crazy is I’m sure there are tons of athletes that can hear that verse and have it hit home. Just off the top of my head, Tyron Smith fits this verse perfectly. If you’re in the dark as to what I’m talking about, he is the Cowboys (now) third-year lineman who went through a lot of B.S. with his family last season. They tried to say he needed to support them, this, that and the third. Just read it for yourself.

    Personally, the song and that verse in particular hit too close to home for me. That’s a great thing that it did. I love the fact that verse was so transparent. It’s just…yeah. I can’t really explain it.

    Quality perspective piece of writing right here.

  • Opro says:

    Great post I feel like with my own upbringing as well it’s almost like you have to apologize for your success you want to help others but at what cost to yourself and your future well done

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